As entrepreneurs, we put our heart and soul into what we do and create. We start with a vision of something great that could help people. It can be a book, website, podcast, product or service. We take that vision and start working to make it a reality. We put in long hours and make constant changes to make the “thing” as close to perfect as we can. We get feedback and give that final push to make sure we’re releasing the best version of what was once just a thought in our minds.
We know that it takes something stellar to do well in the market but there’s something that gets neglected. When it’s time to finally release the thing to the world, too many entrepreneurs realize they didn’t think through the marketing of it. The best product, tool or service in the world will remain unknown without good marketing and exposure. In that moment, entrepreneurs tend to throw together a last-minute sales “plan.”
This plan has the entrepreneur reaching out to friends for a favor. They are private messaging connections on Facebook begging and/or trying to convince the connection why they should promote the thing to that entrepreneur’s network. They throw together shoddy social media posts that try to convince people they need to buy their thing. Meanwhile, their friends, business connections, and random social media connections can sense the desperation and are repelled away from even looking at what is being offered.
A better way.
I get these kinds of messages daily. An author worked very hard to write a good book. They are passionate about the message and created something special. But, the whole time they were working on the book, they did nothing to create an audience interested in buying the book. They didn’t build an email list well before the book launch. They didn’t spend enough time building their social media presence, and they didn’t assemble a team to help them launch the book. They made a great product but have no one anticipating or interested in buying that product.
When they realize it, they send messages to me and others hoping we’d be interested in promoting the book. The reality is that the people they’re messaging will have zero interest in promoting the book to their audiences. They just aren’t invested.
I was guilty of this very thing when I published my first book. I learned the lesson and built an audience well in advance of publishing my second book. First book sales were five copies sold in the first six months. The second book sales were 5,768 copies sold in the first month of launch. I sold books because I had built an audience and had a marketing plan.
The better way is to build your customer base before you even start creating your thing. You build that customer base by providing free value. People don’t care about what you’re selling — they care what’s in it for them. You give them that value well in advance through blog posts, podcast episodes, video training, webinars, samples, articles, pro tips — anything that helps them get results in their life.
You do this before and while you’re building what you will sell. When it’s time to sell, they will buy because they’ve already gotten value from you. They also see that you are an expert and that they will get even more value if they spend their hard earned money on your thing.
A real sales plan.
The key to selling lots of your thing is to have a real marketing plan. Many entrepreneurs treat their business as a fun hobby. A real business has a marketing plan in place well ahead of launching anything. You should sit down and think about what you will offer in your business over the next year. Put those things on a calendar. Then, plan out what content you’ll create leading up to the launch that adds undeniable value first.
At the end of that content-value period, you launch the product or service as a way for those that got the value to get help reaching their next growth level. When you launch, you use all the tools, software and marketing channels to spread the word in a larger way. No last-minute social media messages begging for a sale.
Don’t be that entrepreneur sending desperate messages asking for last-minute marketing help. Be the kind of entrepreneur who creates plans well before they start creating their thing. You work so hard to create something great that helps people — it deserves to be seen far and wide. You deserve to make more money and grow your business as a result of your efforts. You need a good product and a plan to sell it long before you’re finished creating your thing.